The Stir it Up Headphones -
As we have told you before the House of Marley uses either recycled or renewable material in their products. With the Redemption Song that meant quite a bit of beach wood, metal and leather. In the Stir it Up headset we find more beach wood (the entire outside cap of the earpiece is wood), recycled aluminum leather and canvas.
The Stir it Up are quite heavy compared to many other headsets of this style (on the ear). This weight does not make them uncomfortable. In fact the way they are balanced they end up feeling more comfortable than headsets that are much lighter.
The ear cups are made of tanned leather (House of Marley says responsibly tanned) with foam padding inside. These are comfortable and do breathe just a little to help keep your ears cool. They also help to block out noise from around you and to channel the sound to your ear drums. Unlike the Redemption Song these can rotate 90 degrees to make storing them in the bag easier.
Past the ear cups there is a bezel of beech wood that connects to the aluminum outer ring. Between these two are thin strips of metal that boast the Red, Yellow and Green colors that are often associated with the Reggae culture.
The two ear pieces are connected to each other via a head strap that features a padded canvas covering (for comfort of course). Of course you can adjust the length of the crossbar for the best fit. This adjustment is not too difficult to do and is also not too lose. You have enough resistance to make things tight and to keep the ear pieces in place.
Like the Redemption Song the cable that connects the headset to your audio or video player is removable. This is a handy little feature that can help to prevent damage to the connections when in the bag, but we do have to worry about wear and tear to the socket.
Since most of the House of Marley products are designed with Apple in mind you have a three button controller situated part of the way down the braided cable. This holds volume controls and a button to allow you to answer phone calls while listening to music. The call answer button works on any smart phone, but the volume controls are Apple only (although we wish this were different). Inside the controller is also a microphone that is fairly typical in its specification. The fabric coating on the cable also helps to reduce outside static noise (and also helps prevent breaks and kinks). Both ends are gold plated (which looks nice, but in reality does not have much effect on the audio quality). One end has a 90-degree angle (the end that goes into your audio/video player) which will help with the longevity of your cable.
Now that we have covered the outside and the aesthetics we can cover the technology that delivers the sound to your ears. Inside each ear piece is a 40mm moving coil driver. If you are not sure what that means it is the same style of driver that is used in most speakers. You have a coiled electromagnet that sits around a larger magnet. As sound information in the form of current hits the voice coil this causes the speaker to move. This style of driver is pretty common (although more are much smaller than 40mm) there is a move to using electrostatic drivers as the cost of manufacture is coming down.
The 40mm drivers in the Stir it Up headset are capable of reproducing sound between 15Hz and 22KHz which is a very good range for on-ear headsets. So far it looks like the Stir it Up headset is very much on par with the Redemption Song headsets that we tested earlier.